Creativity is more important than ever in business and career success, given the scale of uncertainty and rapid change in the way work is done and how career paths unfold. The starting point of creativity is curiosity.
Curiosity is the most common trait of those who strive for continuous success. They love to learn and they are committed to lifelong learning. They seek insights and better ways of doing things.
In the business world senior leaders are in search of new and better ways to do business, enhance the success of their customers, make a difference, lead change, seek solutions and foster innovation. The curios have the edge.
If you are curious and your mind is geared toward finding solutions, you will become a valuable asset to the organization you work for.
Curious people are:
Always open to new information. They have a library of audio, paper and electronic books. They seek feedback from trusted friends and colleagues, asking thoughtful questions to support their personal and professional growth.
They explore new subjects, try new things, experiment and expect growth from their experiences. They like to apply new information and insight in uncommon situations.
They are in a constant state of learning from people and their surroundings.
Doers and teachers. They don’t wait to be told what to do. They do it and ask for permission (or apologize) later. They like to tell others what they have learned because they know that repetition is the way to remember and adopt new thoughts and habits.
Good listeners. They are interested in what other people are saying. They hear the message and use non-verbal cues to understand the meaning and intent.
Seekers. They not only enjoy new experiences, but also actively look for challenges that will stretch them; whether that involves developing professional relationships, learning new skills or pushing themselves to do their best work.
They seek people, events and organizations that feed their curiosity intending to use and apply new information to make impactful contributions and enhance their career satisfaction.
Risk Takers. Learning is energizing and taking risks becomes a positive option. Because they enjoy asking questions and seeking insight, they are comfortable applying what they’ve learn to new situations and taking risks. They are therefore, the individuals who make the biggest impact. Even if they are scared curiosity compels them to investigate possibility and try it anyway.
Danger of lack of curiosity
It is very easy to get bogged down by the rules and repetitiveness of some job responsibilities. Without realizing it, fresh insights, new ideas end and career stagnation follows. The ability to see possibilities and make impactful contributions ends. Procrastination and boredom settle in and frustration and discouragement result.
For the curious the exploration of information of something new makes work exciting, they are never bored, they continue to make a difference and develop career paths that support their strengths and interests.
Steps to increase curiosity
Curiosity is merely a desire to know and to learn, so it is as easy as being eager to discover answers, new information and solutions. Four simple ways to jump start curiosity:
• Observe everything around you
• Investigate unfamiliar things
• Experience new situations
• Ask questions, seek answers, be curious about how things work and why they work that way, try a new approach
The way work is done is changing. Avoid being down sized or redundant. Invigorate a stalled or stale career with new information and insight and discover of new career interests. Be curious.
Curiosity helps us approach uncertainty in our everyday lives with a positive attitude. Although you might believe that certainty and control over your circumstances bring you security, it is often uncertainty and challenge that energizes our careers.
You were born curious
We are all born with boundless curiosity but formal education forces us to fall in line, follow the rules of the group or suffer humiliation, answer exactly as expected and fall to ‘group think’ and even complacency. These expectations stifle curiosity and the ability to think differently.
Soon the natural instinct to explore is tempered by a desire to fit in and conform. We stop asking questions because we learn that not knowing is humiliating. We stop putting ourselves in positions where we are open to vulnerability. In our pursuit of a secure and comfortable life, we often lose sight of what energizes and drives us, curiosity.
Yet being curious can transform anxiety. Asking questions to learn and understand enhances our ability to make a difference.
Become curious again
Start with this most uncomfortable situation: Meeting new people.
For many of us conversations with strangers at networking events are a particular source of awkwardness, so this is an excellent place to start. The secret to eliminating anxiety is to approach introductions as an opportunity to learn about the other person and to make an effort to talk about something the other person is genuinely interested in. This requires that you ask questions and be curious.
In these situations curiosity can be contagious and helps to facilitate the attempts to build rapport. When you take an interest in the things other people do, asking lots of questions and being genuinely curious, they’ll become enthusiastic about talking to you and you have made a connection.
The career winners of the future are those who can make a difference, solve problems and make impactful contributions, all which require curiosity and a passion to learn and understand. Career satisfaction and success is found in the pursuit of knowledge.